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26 Gigapixel Photo Sets New World Record 139

FrenchSilk writes "The largest gigapixel photograph ever created with a DSLR camera was made by A.F.B. Media GmbH in Dresden, Germany. 1655 images, each 21.6 megapixels in size, were taken with a Canon 5D Mark II and a 400 mm lens over a period of 176 minutes. The images were stitched on a 16 processor system with 48GB of main memory, taking 94 hours to create the final result. The interactive view can be found here."
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26 Gigapixel Photo Sets New World Record

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  • Woop de freakin do (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GigaHurtsMyRobot ( 1143329 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:31PM (#30480394) Journal
    If you can't take it all in at once, what's the big deal? Wouldn't Google earth have the largest 'photo' since it has an interactive view of the entire globe stitched together?
    • by Romancer ( 19668 ) <> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:35PM (#30480466) Journal

      I second the motion to call shenanigans.
      This is not a gigapixel photo, this is a gigapixel collage.

      • by David Gould ( 4938 ) <> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:47PM (#30480630) Homepage

        I'm still enjoying the phrase "largest gigapixel photograph". I'm not sure how it compares in size to all the regular gigapixel photographs. But no doubt it's much bigger than the smallest gigapixel photograph.

        In other news, a ton of bricks actually does weigh more than a ton of feathers.

      • No, brace yourselves, this is the worlds BIGGEST GOATSE PRANK ! Do not be rick-rolled like those insensitive clods over in soviet russia. Or whatever.
      • that, and the thing threw an error of the nature 'could not find file XXXXXX.jpg for quadrant XX' (or something along those lines) when i zoomed in. epic fail.

        Large-resolution image taken with an 8x10 camear. A large format film camera (100+ year-old technology) can squeak out very high resolutions. Arguments abound as to the megapixel equivalent of film, but if a 35mm camera is about 20 megapixels then by my calculations a 8x10 camera is about one regular old fashioned gigapixel of resolution.
      • I agree totally.

        One day I was sitting in the hills under the Hollywood sign. I took shots for a 360 degree view, and stitched them up at home. That was a trick, considering the resolution of the pictures, and the speed and memory available on PC's at the time. I never bothered to calculate out the megapixel size, but it would have been pretty big. I would have never considered it to be a huge shot. I considered it an interesting collage.

        The only drawback t

    • I third the motion. How many do we need for it to pass? I thought the articles were moderated on this website?
    • If you can't take it all in at once, what's the big deal? Wouldn't Google earth have the largest 'photo' since it has an interactive view of the entire globe stitched together?

      A 26 gigapixel image is cool for any computer geek / graphics nut / photographer.

      I for one welcome our new, gigapixel image toting, overlords

    • I agree. And since they couldn't take it all at once, but needed almost a three-hour span, the shadows are all over the place.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by FiloEleven ( 602040 )

        They actually captured the same two people twice! There's a grassy patch near the lower right of the image that contains two bright red flags. Zoom in on those, then pan up and to the right to the sidewalk. There's a column with ads on it and some people walking to the left and right of that. Two of them are clearly doubled. I hope they get to see themselves.

        I don't care about the headline or the record. I think it's a neat image in its own right.

    • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @07:17PM (#30480942) Journal

      If you can't take it all in at once, what's the big deal?

      Finally a photo that works like photos do on CSI when it comes to zoom!

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      view of the entire globe stitched together

      No, it hasn't. I dare bet large chunks of the oceans and poles aren't quite as detailed as some of the cities.

      You probably can still find a big chunk detailed enough to beat the 26 gigapixel record, but the resolution of any chunk should be measured by the lowest resolution part and should be without any missing parts.

    • Here! Here! I third the shenanigans call. More like a cry.. The real question is who can 'stitch' the fastest...
    • by dov_0 ( 1438253 )

      Increasingly large megapixel photos are an interesting thing though, but to me they are only interesting if the focus is small. Imagine you are a woman looking at dress photos online. The photos have such amazing detail that you can zoom in and see the weave of the fabric itself, the details of the patterns. Then imagine you're looking at a mate's car photos. You can zoom in and read the badges etc. On a photo of a forest you can zoom in and check out a bee landing on an interesting flower.

      Oh, ye. The inter

    • by jasonwc ( 939262 )

      But that wasn't what the article or the summary claimed:

      "The largest gigapixel photograph ever created with a DSLR camera"

      Satellites aren't using DSLR cameras :P

      • For whatever reason, "DSLR" has come to mean "a camera with a large, high-quality sensor". Frustrates the hell out of me too. One can most certainly attach a pound of prisms, mirrors, and mechanical levers to the sensor out of a cameraphone and have a "DSLR". At least Panasonic managed to buck the trend and make a large-sensor camera with interchangeable lenses and only digital preview.

    • Wouldn't Google earth have the largest 'photo' ...

      Google's satellite picture of the earth is one million giga-pixels large (if I didn't make some calculation error).

    • If you look at the hills on the left side, the big white buildings are the Infineon fabs, and the now bankrupt Qimonda fab. Also, you can almost tell which part of Dresden was destroyed from the WWII bombings by the types of buildings that are there now. The apartment box-like buildings were built during the communist times after the war.
    • You can't take it in all at once on your puny computer, but there is a single full resolution image file somewhere that could conceivably be printed at 100% if there were a printer in existence that could print 30 meter wide rolls (or whatever it would take) or a monitor with enough pixels to display it. So, lacking those means of displaying the image, the next best thing is a zoomable image such as shown here.
  • I get a "security error" when I try to view the actual picture from that website...anyone have another link?

  • Slashdot effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EEPROMS ( 889169 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:32PM (#30480426)
    in 3...2..1
  • Google Earth (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HateBreeder ( 656491 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:35PM (#30480460)

    If we're gonna stitch photos together, i think Google Earth is probably by far "higher-resolution" than this.

    Show me a SINGLE image sensor that can do 26GP and i'll be impressed!

    • Show me a SINGLE image sensor that can do 26GP and i'll be impressed!

      Come back in 2150 C.E. and somebody can show you one. If you were alive till 2150, the folks showing you that sensor would be impressed too :)

      • Actually, according to moore's law, we just need 20 years (for a factor of 1000)...

        • Actually, according to moore's law, we just need 20 years (for a factor of 1000)...

          That phrase you use. I don't think it means what you think it means. Unless, of course, they start using transistors as sensors - in which case I will gladly eat my words.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by HateBreeder ( 656491 )

            Read about CMOS Active Pixel Sensors:

            The size is dominated by the transistors, the photo-diode shares the same feature size are the transistors since it's manufactured under the same process.

            Moore's law applies.

            • Re:Google Earth (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Arthur Grumbine ( 1086397 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @09:45PM (#30482426) Journal

              Read about CMOS Active Pixel Sensors: []

              The size is dominated by the transistors, the photo-diode shares the same feature size are the transistors since it's manufactured under the same process.

              Moore's law applies.

              I have printed out that last post of mine and am chewing on the paper as I type this. Interesting to note, though, is these [] two [] articles discussing the upper limits of pixel count due to diffraction. Looks like we're not gonna see a 26 GP camera after all, even with Moore's Law applying.

              *chokes on mushy pulp*

              It's a moral victo-- AACCKKK-*gulp*...ahem, victory.

      • by maxume ( 22995 )

        Of course it will still be attached to a consumer level camera with a shitty little lens in front of it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      There is a 111 MP single sensor camera that just got installed on a telescope. There's not a whole lot of point though. It's easier, cheaper and more reliable to create a multichip camera like the 1.4 GP camera installed on one of the telescopes in Hawaii. It's still one camera though, and takes the whole 1.4 GP in one shot.

      • except for the distortion you get around the edges of each sensor...

        Also note, that the denser pixels are going to get the less surface area you'll require for 26GP... though i suspect that there is a fundamental limit - the photo-diode will need to be larger than a some function of the wave length.

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          Presumably, since these multiple sensor cameras are currently used in telescopes, they've either worked out how to deal with sensor edges or it isn't important. There need not necessarily be a gap at the edge of a sensor anyway. Just because it technically came off a different wafer doesn't mean you couldn't line the things up closely enough that it wouldn't matter.

          Denser pixels are going to get less surface area... provided the surface area of your sensor doesn't change. Astronomical cameras don't exact

      • Wouldn't it be easier and a whole ton cheaper to do a 4000dpi scan off of a 8x10 negative? I mean there's almost 1.3GP in one shot.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          Not in astronomy. Film and digital sensors respond to light in different ways. Digital sensors are MUCH more sensitive than film is, but much of that sensitivity is unusable in a regular camera because digital sensors also experience much higher levels of noise than film does.

          So if you're shooting regular landscape, portrait, whatever, you might well be right. But in astronomy that extra sensitivity actually buys you something.

          Most astronomical pictures you see are the result of long exposures, from seco

          • What you are talking about is reciprocity failure, where the film stops responding in a linear fashion to increases in exposure. However, if for some strange reason I wanted to make a wall sized print of a city, then the first thing I would be grabbing is a view camera, a few loaded film holders.
            • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

              No, I'm not talking about reciprocity failure. I'm talking about where the film stops responding at all. Film simply isn't sensitive to anything like individual photons, whereas digital sensors are.

              Perhaps you originally replied to the wrong post. I was talking about astronomical cameras. You don't use those to take pictures of cities.

    • by icebike ( 68054 )

      Google Earth is not a uniform resolution.

      Still, David Pogue is sure to arrive on site soon and tell us we should do this with a 3 megapixel camera and just be quiet about all this gigapixel tom foolery. []

  • It would be an impressive achievement to note the largest picture taken at one time with a camera. However, stitching together 1655 photos together doesn't exactly seem to be as interesting as a feat. If that qualifies as a record, then just how many photos does the a global satellite view like Google Maps have in "total resolution"?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Stitching many images to form one big picture is challenging in many ways: First you need the camera and lens to capture enough detail. With a 400mm lens, it took a 21MP camera to get that much data. If you've ever tried to shoot a crisp 21MP picture at 400mm, you know that even just one of these 1655 photos is an achievement. Then you need the hardware to shoot these pictures in quick succession: The photoshoot took them three hours. During that time, the sun moves, shadows move, the color of the sky chang

      • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @10:09PM (#30482624)

        Due to the way these images are created, they don't work at all for even moderately dynamic views, they're always full of artifacts from the light change, they usually look quite dull when zoomed out and the interesting bits are lost in a vast desert of pointless detail.

        Pointless detail?

        Detail was precisely the point of the image.

        Further, simply because you have no immediate use for this detail does not mean its pointless and certainly not a desert. Its all still there when you zoom back in.

        The detail on the facade of a building does not cease to exist just because you get in your car and drive a mile away.

        This is an attempt to record that. To have the naked eye view and the telescopic view in one set of images.

        The practical applications of this seem rich, if we can just get past our little self centered world view that suggests just because you can not experience every level of detail simultaneously, that, therefore none of it is warranted.

    • by icebike ( 68054 )

      The Stitch job is pretty good.

      But the girl riding her bike on the bridge has gained a twin, and a couple cars in the parking lot seem to have lost their rear ends.

      Serial imaging leads to anomalies. Simultaneous imaging would be more impressive. I'm not as concerned that there are multiple sensors involved as I am that the same sensor was used serially and with enough of an interval that a person could plod along on a bike for 200 feet.

      Still its pretty impressive.

  • megapixels? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by StripedCow ( 776465 )

    bah, megapixels mean nothing...

    what about signal to noise ratio, dynamic range, plenoptic capabilities, etc.

  • lolcats (Score:5, Funny)

    by tholomyes ( 610627 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:40PM (#30480534) Homepage
    ...and 20 minutes later, the world's largest lolcat was created. ("i can haz gigapixelz?")
  • Actual Largest Photo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:44PM (#30480594) Journal

    Legacy Project [], they converted an old hanger into a pinhole camera.

    • by jcoy42 ( 412359 )

      Why do these sites insist on resizing my browser window for me?

      I really hate that..

      Yes, I know I could prevent it. I don't see why I should though.

    • by syousef ( 465911 )

      Why do all record making photographs have to be so aesthetically repulsive!?!?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by John Whitley ( 6067 )

        It's not just photographs. This is a problem when generally when a medium is applied to a primarily technical aim (e.g. breaking a record) vs. an aesthetic one. The best example of this I've witnessed was during my freshman year of college, when a music department Prof. had the class listen to the first public recording of tape loop reverb. IIRC, it came out of MIT. The recording was performed on the recorder (the woodwind instrument) by the then-current department chair.

        Now try to imagine sounds that w

    • Nope. From TFA, the new photo is 105x35 meters. The photo you referenced is only 32.9x8.5 meters.
    • Doesn't using a building as a camera pretty much limit your choice of subject material? There just might be a reason why portable cameras were invented! (Unless, of course, you can get a large number of people to pose in front of the building.

      I remember as a child, the sun shining through a hole in the garage door onto the freezer door created a camera obscura, although it really only displayed a silhoette of the trees. And of course, the image was upside down.
    • in a related note, i once accidentally converted my friends dorm room into a pinhole camera. we where lying there watching TV, and we turned the TV off, and i was staring at the wall, when i realized that the weird colors moving on the wall, was a projection of what was going on outside, it was just upside down. (small hole in the blanket over the window as it turns out)
    • Points for building such a huge camera obscura. Points off for whatever issues made a photograph that huge so incredibly noisy. I suspect the exposure was too short since a pinhole camera of that size would have to be open for weeks to gather enough light to cover the canvas. Possibly light leakage from unintentional pinholes was also a problem. A photo that large should be unbelievably rich in detail or there's no point in making it, except to photograph the process of making a photograph that large.

  • by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:51PM (#30480692)
    AFB Media Exec: Hey IT guy, can our server handle the load if I post a 26 gigapixel image to slashdot?

    IT Guy: Of course it can, we run BSD, which as you know, is not....
  • I swear to god if this is a VLCsnap.png I am going to be really mad.
  • This has been done and its going to be "done" many times before.

    What amazed me was that Google translate did a REALLY good job of traslating that article. Its not perfect, but you can read it and understand fairly clearly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Ditto that. I read the first few sentences without a problem, until I hit the part where they talk about pixels (picture elements). I couldn't figure out why the grammar and parentheses were that screwed up.... until I accidentally moused over a sentence with a Google pop-up asking me to improve the sentence. Only then did I realized I was looking the Google Translate page of the actual German page.

      Hot damn. Automated language translation has come a long way.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      This has been done and its going to be "done" many times before.

      What amazed me was that Google translate did a REALLY good job of traslating that article. Its not perfect, but you can read it and understand fairly clearly.

      Posting on /. about how something's "been done before" has been done before.

      What amazed me was that Slashdot spellcheck did a REALLY good job of spellchecking that post. It's not perfect, but you can read and understand it fairly easily.

    • I agree, that worked like gangbusters and didn't read as particularly awkward. That's quite an accomplishment.


  • Largest Image Sensor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HenryKoren ( 735064 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @07:04PM (#30480846) Homepage

    Some related knowledge: The largest Image sensor (that I've heard of) is part of the "Large Synoptic Survey Telescope" in Chile and it weighs in at 3200 Megapixels []

    Shameless plug: check out my blog at

  • to load that image!
  • their web server does not have 16 processors.

  • by fotoguzzi ( 230256 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @07:19PM (#30480968)
    (you insensitive clods.)
  •     Sadly the server for viewing is a 486 with an AT1500-BT 10mbit coax connection.

  • It is a pity they picked afternoon to shoot this photo. As a result the most beautiful part of the city, historic center, is in a deep shadow. With so much work put into this, one would think image aesthetics would be also be a consideration besides just technological accomplishment.

  • Boring (Score:4, Funny)

    by krray ( 605395 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @07:56PM (#30481318)

    I couldn't find one person in a compromising position or act.

  • Forget about the whose-a-ma-wuchit umpty-ump gigapixel technology...I want to know about the partial-cloaking field device implemented on the car in the parking lot!
  • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @08:12PM (#30481488)
    They messed up the stitching... that of someone invented a camouflage car [].
    • Um. *or* not *of*
    • No, somebody moved their car while they were taking the pictures. When you stitch together "picture with car" and "picture with no car", that's what you get.
      • The highway doesn't have the same problem... I assume those cars were moving... :)
      • No, somebody moved their car while they were taking the pictures. When you stitch together "picture with car" and "picture with no car", that's what you get.
        Invisibility cloak?!? Ha! I'll believe it when I see it!

        pretty sure your sig has the answer. they turned off the cloak to park, so nobody opened a door on them. that or they're turning it on as they back out, it's hard to tell with this few pixels per meter.

  • Was anyone able to mirror the image before the server went down? ;)

  • This functionality and resolution is easy to get and can be obtained from a normal single photo, not 1655. All you need is a standard "enhancement" filter found on any movie of TV show worth its salt. You zoom in, everything is blurry, enhance, it gets clear again and repeat ad nauseum, or at least until the scientists in your audience are nauseated.
  • What are the chances that a web server serving up a 26GByte picture would be slashdotted?
    • by wjh31 ( 1372867 )
      Not 26 gigabytes, 26 gigapixels. The tiles for the image are probably a few gigabytes total, but you will only be served the tiles for the magnification level and area you are looking at, c.f google/bing maps
  • Hey! I found Waldo!

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